My Husband, myself, and two of our adult children shared a "dome". We were staying for 2 nights. The weather the first day and night was unfortunately overcast turning to rain with snow on the top of the mountains around us. A number of storms blew up through the Elqui Valley that night and at 1am the electricity failed. Not a problem as the heating was gas (it was however a problem for me as I sleep on a CPAP machine - now power = no machine working = very little sleep). Fortunately the second night the power stayed on. Note to me: look into battery backup or something for CPAP machine. Due to my arthritis we had requested accommodation with the easiest access, so the accommodation dome nearest to the reception area was allocated. The dome was camping without having to take all the equipment. The bathroom was very civilized. The double mattress was very comfortable, as was the single mattress. The fold out lounge, which made the other bed, was not. However, when our English speaking guide arrived in the morning, we requested a mattress to be placed on top of the fold out lounge. This then made a very comfortable bed.
Yes, you must book in for lunch and dinner at Elqui Domos. The food is very good, simple but beautifully cooked and tasty (3 courses at lunch and also at dinner) - soup, main and desert. Breakfast included a hot course as well. The second night also started overcast but by about 8pm the skies started to clear and by 9 the whole sky was a dazzling array of stars. It is no wonder that this area is popular for star-gazing - I have never seen so many stars.
Late May was probably not the best time to visit, however, there were 4 other groups there too.
The people running Elqui Domos did not light a fire in the lounge area and the eating area was not adequately heated for this time of year. So I think that if they wish to encourage tourists in May and the other cold months they do need to have the communal areas welcoming and warm.
There is no TV there. This was not a problem for us - we just borrowed some games and cards from reception and spent the evenings playing cards. I mention this point because we were dropped off at Elqui Domos and collected the next morning for our tour. Elqui Domos is remote. The nearest village is a 45 minute walk away. So if you do not have your own transport, either come prepared to entertain yourself at night (if there are not stars to entertain you), or organize for you guide and transport to stay there too.
We had very little Spanish. An English speaking member of staff on duty would have been very helpful. A lady with good English was there the first afternoon but we did not see her after that.
Breakfast in May was served from 9am (because I am fairly sure no-one got out of bed early in the cold). We had to leave at 8am on our departure day. Our guide arranged for a breakfast tray to be delivered to our dome the previous night. This was very good - cereal, fresh fruit, banana cake, yoghurt and rolls.
Our stay was certainly an adventure. I would stay there again but at a warmer time of year and I would make sure I had my own transport too.
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